Webpage updated as of 05/05/2020
Note: COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving global pandemic with new information being released every day. When reading online sources about COVID-19, remember to check the date of publication and try to find the most up-to-date content possible! Questions? Contact us, but remember to always consult your local healthcare provider and authorities for specific guidance.
How to vet sources of information:
- COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving global pandemic with new information being released every day. We are being bombarded with an extensive amount of information, mainly via online sources. When weeding through all of this information, it is difficult to determine good information from bad information. To help with this, consider these questions:
- Is this article citing actual data and scientific studies?
- If so, are they citing a reputable source that I can trust?
- When was this article published?
Coronavirus/COVID-19 101 Basics:
- Want to catch up on Coronavirus/COVID-19 basics? Check out this video from the World Health Organization.
What we know (information from WHO):
- Common symptoms
- Dry cough
- Other symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Aches and pains
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Populations that have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness:
- Older populations
- Pre-existing medical conditions (e.g. High blood pressure, heart disease, etc.)
- Populations with respiratory conditions (e.g. asthma)
- Immunocompromised/immunosuppressed populations
- COVID-19 can be spread from individual to individual via respiratory droplets produced by coughing or exhaling.
- While there are many similarities between COVID-19 and the seasonal flu, they are considered very different infections.
- Right now, there is no vaccine for COVID-19, but scientists have begun working on one.
- COVID-19 cannot be transmitted through mosquito bites.
- Spraying and introducing bleach or another disinfectant into your body WILL NOT protect you against COVID-19 and can be dangerous.
- Drinking methanol, ethanol or bleach DOES NOT prevent or cure COVID-19 and can be extremely dangerous.
What we are unsure of:
- How long COVID-19 remains in an infectious state on different types of surfaces:
- A recent pre-print journal article (an article that has not undergone peer review) found that COVID-19 can remain infectious on different materials for varying amounts of time. While it is important to think about potential COVID-19 transmission on the daily surfaces we interact with, it is also worth noting that this study was conducted in a very specific laboratory setting that differs greatly from our daily environments.
- While COVID-19 on surfaces should be considered, we are most concerned about the transfer of airborne respiratory droplets from human to human (e.g. breathing on one another).
- While it has been proposed that COVID-19 could be transferred through fecal contamination, it is not known yet if this is true.
- Incubation period:
- A viral incubation period is defined as the period between exposure to COVID-19 and the first presentation of COVID-19 symptoms. A concrete incubation period is not currently known, although it is estimated to be about 5 days.
What we don’t know:
- The true number of COVID-19 cases throughout the world:
- One of the initial challenges for battling COVID-19 was developing a test to determine if individuals are COVID-19 positive. Once this test was created, it was made available. Some areas/countries of the world only have limited quantities of tests, meaning not everyone has the ability to get tested. This means that there is likely a population of individuals that are COVID-19 positive (assumed mild cases) that are not being accounted for in the total cases count, due to unavailability of testing.
- How long an individual will remain immune to COVID-19 once infected and recovered:
- It is currently unknown how long an individual can remain immune to COVID-19 post infection. It is also unknown if a person can be reinfected by COVID-19.
How can I increase the safety of myself and my family? Why are these methods effective?
- Consider wearing a cloth face mask. You may live in an area in which wearing cloth face masks, or cloth face coverings, is being recommended for public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. As a reminder, cloth face masks should not be worn by children under the age of 2. Cloth face masks should not be worn by anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. If you have questions about preexisting respiratory conditions and cloth face mask use, please contact your doctor.
- You may be hearing a lot about the positive effects on social distancing in an attempt to “flatten the curve”… but what does that all mean? The Washington Post created a social distancing simulator that visualizes why social distancing has a big impact on halting the spread of COVID-19.
- Something as simple as hand washing is one of the best ways to combat COVID-19… seriously?! YES! This video below explains why good ol’ soap and water are a deadly combo for COVID-19.
- Avoid touching your face. One study found that people touch their face an average of 23 times per hour! This makes sense: our noses itch, we rub tired eyes, we rest our chins on our palms, etc. By reducing the amount of times we touch our faces, we are reducing the risk of introducing respiratory droplets that our hands may have picked up from other surfaces.
- Disinfect your phone! Our phones go everywhere with us these days and come in contact with a LOT of different surfaces. Whatever we have on our hands and whatever our phone has picked up from surfaces is directly being presented to our face whenever we make a phone call. Making a daily habit of a quick phone wipe down is a simple and effective technique to stay clean.
Reputable sources for more information:
Note, information is changing rapidly. Numbers on these websites may not 100% agree based on when they are being updated.
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU)
- COVID-19 Cases by Country and US State
- Your state’s local government website